The participants of the 73rd UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management have received a warm welcome at the German Environment Agency in Dessau… as well as lots of input with regard to the topic of our training programme. Please see the image caption for details.
by Ms. Kebaabetswe Keoagile (Botswana)
It all started with the admiration of the main building. One would have thought it’s a business building; it is a piece of architectural beauty indeed!
That was on the 11 th and 12 th of May, 2017 when CIPSEM EM40 participants had an excursion to the German Environment Agency (UBA) in Dessau. The Agency is Germany’s central federal authority on environmental matters. According to their website and other websites, there have three main functions.
Its key statutory mandates are:
- To provide scientific support to the Federal Government (e.g.. the Federal Ministries for Environment; Health; Research; Transport, Building and Urban Affairs);
- Implementation of environmental laws (e.g. emissions trading, authorisation of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and plant protection agents)
- Information of the public about environmental protection.
Different topics were presented, graced questions and discussions from the participants. The agenda for sustainable development 2030 was of great importance to generate insights into topics such as Sustainable development, green economy, sustainable resource use, and resource efficiency. Presenters were insightful about the need for action regarding transitioning to green economy. Population growth, high economic growth in developing countries, increasing fluctuating energy resources prices were cited as reasons for action.
And with these actions they are benefits that can be derived and the presenter covered: business opportunities, job creation, less environmental change hence higher welfare and quality of life, less dependency on energy imports and less use of resources, to name a few.
In the discussions, green economy was being viewed an aspect of sustainable development.
It also emerged through the discussions that sustainable development is an overarching vision while green economy gives shape to sustainable development, however, it does not fully address social issues.
It was important for us to learn that Germany has sustainability strategies which include resource efficiency policy and national strategy for sustainable development which were updated in 2016 for alignment the Sustainable Development Goals.
As the day progressed, the Dr. Uwe Leprich, Head of Department under Climate Protection and Energy unit, welcomed us to the Agency and introduced the two alumni of the CIPSEM Programme: Ms Rachel Boti-Douayoua (a 2015 CIPSEM participant) and Prof. Dr. Bert Kohlmann (a 1981 participant). The two gave interesting presentations about their experiences during the course. The latter noted that environmental issues by that time included ecological change, soil pollution, ozone layer depletion and air pollution, as opposed to climate change. His valuable experiences included making friends who were resourceful for his subsequent collaborations and project work. His projects were more into what he studied during the course (renewable energy and bio monitoring) and currently embarking on renewable energy projects as part of the transition to green economy.
Ms Boti-Douayoua also gave insights into her current work of which she managed to integrate what she learnt from the course on carbon credits. This was evident that indeed the course reaches its objectives of skilling and enriching participants.
The participants had a relaxed evening and informally continued discussions about the day’s events at a joint dinner at the NH-Hotel (courtesy of CIPSEM secretariat). Some participants had a night-walk within the city centre to appreciate its beauty thereafter. Thanks to CIPSEM invite!
Day 2 was the day to get the practical part of the issues previously identified, with aid of cases from Germany. The topics of the day ranged from climate change priorities, adaptation and institutionalisation, to waste electrical and electronic equipment management and the strategic and environmental impact assessments. Thanks to the presenters for the knowledge share with or imparted onto the participants on the above areas. The participants engaged the presenters through discussions.
At the end one will say it was still clear that the challenge is putting theory into action remains critical in many spheres. One example of such challenges was the comment from a participant on the amount of work done on the environmental issues especially climate change, the results of which are not yet realized.
Implementation! Implementation! Implementation!
By Adedoyin A. Adeleke (Nigeria)
It’s been learning and exciting time at CIPSEM since our course began. The diverse backgrounds of the 21 participants from 19 countries in the course have provided enriching insights on energy profiles (including their cultures) through the country reports. We have also had introductory lectures on renewable energy and energy efficiency which altogether have provided insights on trends, technologies and the policies driving them in Germany.
Then it was time to do some site visits, this time the German Environmental Agency headquarters in Dessau! The about two and half hours’ journey by train provided opportunity to pass through other cities of Germany as well as villages. We realized that its global leadership in renewable energy, Germany also has fertile and expanse of land for agriculture.
On arrival at the Agency, we were taken on a guided tour round the building. What initially appeared to be a demonstration of architectural and artistic expertise would soon become a blend of arts and architectural design in a “model green building”. Our guide provided detailed explanations on the various designs and parts of the building as it relates to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
From the Agency, we proceeded to the world famous home of harmony of arts and craft, the Bauhaus in Dessau! We had another guided tour of the building and learned of its legacy in architecture since the 20th century. The 90-year old building which was a masterpiece in the 20th century architecture was designed in 1925 by Walter Gropius, a professor and an architect. The building was was unique with its glass wall, flat roofs and the no-main view design of the building which were peculiar at the time. The Bauhaus appears to be more than design but also a philosophy that pushed design on a new course: the Bauhaus provides an interface between User Experience, Sustainability and Innovation in building design. From the Bauhaus, we retired to the hotel for dinner and night rest, courtesy of CIPSEM.
Next day, we had five insightful presentations at the German Environmental Agency (UBA). First was an introduction to the operation of the Agency. It was exciting to learn of the reason for the location of the headquarter office of the UBA in Dessau instead of Berlin, the capital. We learned that all second place government institutions were asked to move to the interior to facilitate infrastructural development in 2004. Among other responsibilities, the agency supports Federal ministry for the environment, Nature conservation Building, and Nuclear safety (BMUB) and the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWi) “by providing scientific knowledge on energy questions and issues such as renewable energy”, collecting data, educating the public, implementing statutory provisions, among others. Thanks to Dr. Benno Hain for his presentation.
In his second presentation, Dr. Hain discussed policy and the institutional framework for Climate mitigation strategies and scenarios in Germany. He introduced the three levels of policy drivers for climate change in Germany: national (Energy Concept of Germany), regional (Climate and Energy Package of the EU28) and the global (International Climate Policy, UNFCCC). Very insightful!
Next was a presentation on the various bioenergy applications and their roles in sustainable development. Jan Seven emphasized that though the use of bioenergy (traditional) is an ancient practice, their inefficient use results in resource depletion, air pollution and labour shortage. He also itemized the risks and opportunities associated with modern bioenergy. According to him, averting the risks while taking advantage of the opportunities requires changes in current practices and strategies. Further, he discussed UBA’s activities for sustainable bioenergy development and support for the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP).
Max Werlein also made a presentation on the “Energy Transition in Germany”. He discussed the concept “Energiewende”, targets and the three policy goals driving it: economic efficiency, security of supply, and environmental compatibility. After the lunch break, we had the last presentation by Jens Schuberth: “Policies for energy saving”. Jens discussed the prospects and challenges of sustainable use of energy and energy efficient products. His lecture also provided insights on policies and strategies for promoting the construction of energy efficient buildings in Germany.
Overall, the excursion provided insights on the German energy system, targets and the policies drivers. Thanks to CIPSEM for facilitating the visit and special thanks for Andre for leading us on the trip!
Our CIPSEM journey continued from 18th to 19th of May 2016 in the city of Dessau. The visit to the German Environment Agency (UBA) began with an introduction and welcome speech by Mr. Ralph Wollmann, who gave background information about the history of the German Environment Agency and explained its participation and contribution to CIPSEM courses. Furthermore Mr. Wollmann talked about the role of UBA in the german society and the international community.
Following up were interactive sessions on several topics from the manifold portfolio of the agency. Among others there were talks on water resources management and climate change adaptation in Germany, transboundary movement of waste, environmental risk regulation of pesticides, green economy and much more.
The stay in Dessau was furthermore accompanied guided tours through the price winning main building of UBA and the world famous Bauhaus.
Report and photographs by Hisham Abdelgawad (Egypt)
After a guided tour through the main building of the ‘Umweltbundesamt’ (UBA), the group participated in an multidisciplinary session with UBA experts. Lots of questions were asked about land-take, sustainable land-use, soil protection, the Sustainable Development Goals, and Risk Assessment of contaminants.
Besides a visit at the Bauhaus Museum, a former art school and the Dessauer Kartoffelhaus were also on the schedule.
(Photos: T. Karp)
Early morning the group entrained and traveled to Dessau, a city in the regional state of Saxony-Anhalt. With numerous parks in its surroundings, Dessau is one of the greenest cities in Germany. Thus, it is no surprise that the Umweltbundesamt (UBA) has its headquarters here. The UBA, which was our host for two days, is Germany’s central environmental authority and is mainly responsible for the scientific support of the Federal Government, the enforcement of environmental laws, and the information of the public about environmental protection. Besides a tour through the office buildings (awarded with the 2009 German gold medal for sustainable construction), a number of experts gave insights in different topics, such as green economy, strategic and environmental impact assessment, adaptation to climate change, environmental risk management, and water resources management.
At the end of the visit, the group went to see the famous Bauhaus. Designed by Walter Gropius, one of the pioneers of modern architecture, the Bauhaus was build in 1926 as a school for architecture and design, and is since 1996 included in the UNESCO World Culture and Nature Heritage List.
(Photos: A. Lindner)